If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told the way I’ve responded (or not responded) with regard to my weight-loss is selfish and suspect, I would, at the very least, have a brand-new pair of Jimmy Choo shoes (which, by the way, I can finally stand in without excruciating pain). Some people expressed unhappiness when I would post a “yay me” on facebook, without spilling my guts. The thing is that my moments of celebration weren’t about them; they were about ME. How’d I deal with all that silliness? Let’s just say that the word “woosah” and I have become well-acquainted.
Now that the weight is off and I’ve successfully maintained the loss for more than six months, I’m ready to share and share why I wasn’t sharing! Here’s the deal, here’s where it begins… and often ends: the conversation is what’s broken. Gratifying news, eh? The conversation is THE PROBLEM. Conversation “when your nose is to the grindstone” is dangerous. Especially with us gals. Especially surrounding the topic of weight loss. Engaging in the questions opens up so many possible pitfalls. Here’s a little perspective:
The number one killer of women is heart disease, which is undeniably a nutritionally based condition. The number two killer is cancer. When one of us has cancer and needs to get to our chemo appointment, or eat a particular thing, or avoid a certain thing, by God we make sure it happens. We’re so relentless that we even shave our heads in support of one another when cancer is staring one of our sisters in the eye. That’s what happens with the number two ranking life-ender. Now let’s circle back to heart disease. Número uno! Think about what happens when the topic of a new food plan is broached. Do any of these sound familiar?
Just have one bite.
Why don’t you just start next week?
My friend tried that, it worked at first, but then she gained it all back.
Oh I don’t know if I could do that.
Oh man, that sounds awful! Why don’t you just try . . .
It’s exhausting! And risky.
It’s never an intentional derailing, but the fact is, anything less than a high five, followed by an immediate topic change is a slippery slope that must be avoided while you’re in the throes of breaking addictions and retraining your mind. When a meth addict is coming off of the drug, they certainly don’t run the risk of conversing with people who are still addicted. Especially the ones who think they have a better idea. When they are truly ready for change, they put their nose to the grindstone, tackle the problem and talk about it later. Food is at least as much of a drug as any street poison out there.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the friends who stood by me without interpretation. I love you and I am grateful beyond measure for your friendship and silent support.
If you’re thin and always have been that way, you may not be able to relate to what I am saying. Here’s a little experiment for you. Next time you’re meeting girlfriends for lunch, show up and when it’s time to order, simply say “no thank you” and decline. Pay attention to the responses of your friends. You will experience anything from gentle curiosity, to all out social panic. If you’re lucky, the awkward discomfort will only last a few minutes. Though it’s more likely that it will continue through the entire meeting. Someone will circle back to you at least once and ask that you just admit what’s going on.
Here is another funny tidbit: I’m pretty sure that I have been on every diet on the market, at least twice. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri System, Cabbage Soup, Phen-fen, South Beach, Maker’s Diet, Slimfast, 40/30/30, Master cleanse, Atkins, Isagenix, HCG, high this and low that, and…. weigh this, count that. Every time I started a new plan, I would tell the people in my life what I was up to. At about 10 pounds of loss they would tell me how great I was looking. This was all in an effort to be supportive and to keep me on track. For anyone who has struggled with obesity, you know just the opposite occurs. Suddenly you tell yourself that you’ve done so well you can take your foot off the gas for one meal, one day, just one bite. Until the whole diet is in the rearview mirror. Here’s the nutty part: When I didn’t tell anyone what I was up to, I was 54 pounds down before the first person asked if I was losing weight. FIFTY-FOUR POUNDS! Ironic enough, that’s exactly the halfway point of my overall weight loss.
So that’s the deal. It’s not that I’m selfish. It’s not that I don’t care about others. It’s not that I was taking a drug that I was ashamed of. It’s not that I had surgery and didn’t want anyone to know. It’s that I became life and death serious about my health. It’s that I learned not to allow a single ounce of (albeit unintentional) sabotage anywhere near me as I focused on getting from A to B.
If you start a health kick, do yourself a favor and keep your circle of insiders tight. I suggest you share with your significant other, your doctor, and of course your coach if you should choose to hire one. But, that’s it. Don’t tell your friends, your colleagues or your family. Don’t rob yourself of the impact of experiencing the organic responses to your new behavior. Don’t run the risk of falling off the tracks before you reach your goal.
In the coming months, I’ll share what I’ve learned and the ways I live my life now. I would love to be helpful to anyone who needs the support. Though, here’s what I can confidently say was key for me: accountability. Intense, relentless accountability. The person I hired to coach me through the process could have handed me a book with every single answer in it, and it would not have helped me lose the weight. I needed daily handholding by someone who knew what he was doing. Seventy-five percent of my success came from doing exactly what he told me to do and I couldn’t be more grateful for the knowledge he imparted to me.
With the expedition safely behind me, I have taken on a few of clients of my own and have successfully coached them through their own journeys to health. It brings tears to my eyes to witness their transformations and to know their lives are forever changed. Here’s a love note from the first person I took on. She reached her goal on Thanksgiving, of all days; how apropos! Another ironic mention, which I talk about here.
Billie you shone a light on a part of my life that I totally thought I had handled. You stuck by my side via text, and slapped bad choices out of my hand. Thank you for giving me the gift of knowledge. There was no room for fluff, errors or excuses. Because you believed in me, I had to believe in me too. I can’t unknow what I know now and for that I am forever grateful. Because of that, I will never again suffer with obesity and my children never will either. For me, that’s priceless. Thank you!
I know you are anxious to understand how substantial weight loss could occur in a short amount of time. Remember in the last post, I mentioned I had come to grips with the fact that I knew nothing. Weight loss is no exception. Begin by letting go of everything you think you know about food, health, weight loss and how the body works. While you clear your noggin, I’ll go write!